Thursday, March 31, 2016
The Adventures of Edwin D Ferretti, Author
The next day I visited the local newspaper and looked up articles concerning Cindy's strange disappearance. I had to find out more, and my notebook was beginning to fill up. She was last seen alive on a Thursday evening seven years ago. Friday morning the library failed to open and the sheriff was contacted. He put out a state alert then expanded it nationally. Cindy had simply vanished along with her black cat called Bast. The secretary placed another file box beside me. I noted the faded label; The Ghost of Cindy Crawl, keep the legend alive.
"Ya see Mr. Ferretti, Cindy's disappearance and reported ghostly sightings are a big tourist attraction around these parts." She smiled at me with a blasé expression. An hour later I'd consumed the contents of the box; coming away with three names of witnesses who reported they had seen and spoken to Cindy: Phyllis Wheeler the local tailor, Bill Cruthers the milkman and Cheryl Snide, the town's new librarian.
I decided to talk to them in order of closeness. Phyllis' shop was on the corner of Main Street and Victor Avenue, only two blocks from the newspaper office. The door chime announced me as I entered the business. Phyllis was in her mid forties, had a short build and walked with a walking stick; result of an auto accident several years back.
"Good morning David, I didn't know that you had anything that needed sewing, you always look so dapper." I grinned at her and thanked her for the compliment.
"I would like to ask you some questions concerning your ghostly encounter with Cindy Crawl."
"I'd be glad to answer your questions. How about some coffee and one of my famous scones? We can talk in my office." I nodded my head and followed her to the back of the store.
"Now what is it that you want to ask me?"
"Would you relate every detail that you can remember about your encounter? I can record it on my tape recorder." I turned it on and placed it on the table.
"Well let me see...oh yes, it was three years ago this month and I was just closing the shop when I heard the door chime ring. Cindy was standing there in her red dress, looking like a fashion queen. My mouth fell open then she spoke; not directly to me, but I understood every word. 'Is my new black evening dress altered yet?' She left it here to be taken in you see. I asked her where she has been for the past four years but she didn't answer. She turned and began to dissolve away in front of the door. She spoke one more time before vanishing. 'Don't sell it; I'll be back for it someday.' I almost had a heart attack. What do you suppose she meant by don't sell it; I'll be back..." I hunched my shoulders.
"Is that all that you can remember? What time was it in the evening?"
"The same time every night, six PM. I do remember it was fogy like last night and chilly when the wind blew." I picked up the tape recorder and turned it off.
"Do you still have the dress?" She walked to the back of the store and returned with a black dress inside a protective plastic cover.
"After my encounter with her I had the dress dry-cleaned and keep it in the back. Just in case mind you."
"Thank you for your time."
"Oh, will I be in your next book?" I assured her if I used the name Phyllis: it would be her I was referring to. My next stop was at the local Milk Factory behind the fire station. Bill Cruthers had delivered milk for as long as he could remember. His father and grandfather were both in the same delivery business. His answers surprised me.
"Cindy stood there in her red dress and I was dumbfounded. She didn't answer any of my questions concerning her disappearance, only wanted to tell me to stop delivering her milk; said she'd be back someday and simply dissolved away into thin air. It was a night like last night, foggy and cold." My head lifted, foggy and cold, like last night, that's the second time I've heard that. I thanked him and walked over to the library.
Cheryl Snide was in her mid thirties and dressed like the librarians of the 30/40's. Long sleeved blouse, ruffles in front with buttons up to her neck, brown skirt and Chelsea flats. A pair of large spectacles covered her eyes.
"I can't wait until your book comes out. Why, I've a list of readers a mile long waiting to read it. Now what can I do for our towns famous author?"
"Would you tell me of your encounter with Cindy Crawl?"
"I'd be glad to...it's happened more than one you know. The first time scared me most to death; I mean seeing someone you know just disappear in front of you eyes. After Cindy vanished I was called in to take over her duties. A year later, the town hired me full time. We're now in the computer age and we're the only library for miles that checks out digital books to library members. Now where was I, Cindy first appeared shortly after I took over, about six years ago. It was late and I was shutting off the lights when I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Cindy stood by the main door in a red dress, almost as if she was going out on a date. I didn't know what to say or think; just stood staring at her. She spoke... 'How is my library? Are there any new fantasy books; especially ones about the origin of magic' I was frozen in place and at a loss of speech. My mouth moved but nothing came out. Cindy asked the same questions a second time then I found my voice. I assured her that we were ordering new books in all the time, told her about you and the fantasy books that you were writing and she smiled then dissolved away into thin air. Come to think about it, I see her every time there is fog in the air. She was here last night and went to look at the fantasy and magical occult books. I told her I was locking up for the night and she had charge of her library. I swear, sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it is really happening."
"What you are saying is that every time there is fog in town, Cindy appears." She nodded her head.
"Would you permit me to stay past closing the next time we have a foggy day?"
"Of course," she reached over to her counter and retrieved her card. "Call me when you want to come over and I'll lock you in. Of course you'll have to remain the entire night because we have a burglar alarm connected to the Sheriff's office." I nodded my head, thanked her and returned home.
To be continued